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Newport Beach Estate Planning Attorney Shares Ideas on Planning for Retirement

Asset Protection, Estate Planning, Retirement PlanningNo Comments

One year ago, Baby Boomers started turning 65 and 10,000 of them reach that age every day.  Unfortunately, two-thirds have done little or no retirement planning, even though they will most likely spend at least two decades in retirement.

This infographic from CouponCabin.com details this trend and shares some retirement options for boomers who are getting ready to hit retirement age, ready or not:

CouponCabin When Im 64 e1328045223450 Newport Beach Estate Planning Attorney Shares Ideas on Planning for Retirement

Contact us today and let our Newport Beach law firm help you with all your financial planning needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

California Estate Planning Attorney Shares 7 Ways to Wreck Your Retirement

Asset Protection, Estate Planning, Retirement PlanningNo Comments

retirement plan e1326494532376 California Estate Planning Attorney Shares 7 Ways to Wreck Your RetirementWhen it comes to planning for retirement, many people feel out of control these days, due to the volatility of the job market, the stock market and the world economy.  A Consumer Reports column last week, however, reminds us of what we can control by detailing seven common ways people can wreck their retirement:

Having no plan.  At the very least, you need to have a guesstimate of how much money you will need to save for retirement, an annual plan on how you will save and/or invest to get there and exactly what kind of lifestyle you want to have when you retire.

Having no Plan B.  In today’s job market, we are no longer totally in control of when we retire – an employer may make that decision for us.  Having alternate plans that consider different scenarios is a must.

Not knowing what you have.  You need to take an inventory of all your savings and investments so you can establish a solid baseline for moving forward.

Underfunding retirement accounts.  Especially for those whose employers match contributions, you are leaving money on the table if you don’t contribute the maximum amounts to your tax-deferred plans.

Not taking a calculated risk.  Being overly cautious with investments once you retire means you will likely lose ground financially.

Forgetting fees.  Scrutinize the fees administrators are charging you for managing your 401(k) and other investments.  It should be easier this year, since new disclosure rules increase transparency.

Counting on home equity.  These days, it is advisable not to count home equity in your net worth unless you are certain of how much profit you can earn by selling your home.  Instead, view your home equity as insurance in case other retirement projections don’t work as planned.

Taking time now to plan for your financial future is probably one of the best investments you can make for you and your heirs.  Contact our California estate planning law firm to get started.

Contact us today for individualized planning strategies to meet your unique needs.

Orange County Business Planning Attorney Details 3 Deadly Errors of Business Succession Planning

Business PlanningNo Comments

business entity formation 150x150 Orange County Business Planning Attorney Details 3 Deadly Errors of Business Succession PlanningAs both an Orange County estate planning attorney and a California business planning attorney, I see the results every day of failure to plan.  Most people have the best of intentions to plan for the future, but it is human nature to put off thinking about our deaths.  However, failing to plan for a successful business succession could result in the death of your business, affecting customers, employees and your own family.

Here are three common lethal errors in business succession planning:

Building the wrong bench – many business owners structure a management team based on what their business is today, rather than what customers will need tomorrow.  This can be the wrong move in a rapidly changing business environment, when the next generation of management needs to be able to fulfill the needs of future customers.

Making it a competition – one of the quickest ways to create a destructive work environment is to play “jump ball” with managers on who will ascend to company leadership.  Business owners who want to leave behind a healthy company should focus on building a strong team that can support the eventual successor.

Planning based on fear – most of us like to think we are irreplaceable, and worry what will happen when we are gone.  Your focus in business succession planning should be on customers, employees and your family so you can create a succession strategy that will serve them best.

For more information on California business succession planning, contact our Orange County business planning law firm.

Your California legal and financial planning experts are at your service; Contact us today.

Orange County Estate Planning Attorney Shares Tips on How to Plan a Thrifty Funeral

Asset Protection, Estate PlanningNo Comments

funeral ribbon 150x150 Orange County Estate Planning Attorney Shares Tips on How to Plan a Thrifty FuneralAs an Orange County estate planning law firm, we believe that asset protection should extend to as many areas of your financial life as possible, even after death.  An ElderLawAnswers.com post entitled 10 Facts Funeral Directors Don’t Want You to Know provides some informational tips on how to save money when planning a funeral:

Shop around – it is estimated that many funerals cost more than $10,000.  Comparison shopping for funeral services can save you a lot – several thousand dollars.

Remember it’s a business – funeral homes are in business to make money, and should not be treated – or trusted – as if they were clergy.

Know what is necessary – embalming is rarely required when a person will be buried within 24-48 hours.  Sealed caskets, which are more expensive, will not preserve a body.

Know the rules – a funeral home cannot refuse to use a casket you have purchased elsewhere, nor can they charge you an additional fee for using it.

Know what things cost – a modest casket should run about $400-$600 and will do the job just fine.

Pick and choose services – you do not have to purchase a funeral home’s entire package of services; you can pick and choose and even plan many things on your own.

Get a price list – funeral homes are required to comply with the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule, which specifies that funeral homes must supply customers with a general price list for all goods and services.

Let our Costa Mesa law offices help you get started by contacting us today.

 

California Estate Planning Attorney Shares Infographic: What Happens to Debt After You Die

Estate PlanningNo Comments

Will your debt survive your death, only to plague your loved ones?  Usually, the answer is no.  Unless you have a co-signatory on a loan or another type of shared debt, your debts will probably die with you – even though unscrupulous debt collectors may try to tap your heirs for payment.

We came across this interesting infographic today that explains what can happen to your debt after you die:

The Matsen Voorhees Law Firm has been a trusted source for estate planning for more than 35 years.  Contact us today for protection and estate planning strategies to meet your unique needs.

Help is available to you by contacting your Southern California financial planning experts today.

Orange County Estate Planning Attorney Notes Boomer Trend of Cracking Open Nest Eggs to Start New Businesses

Business PlanningNo Comments

golden eggs 150x150 Orange County Estate Planning Attorney Notes Boomer Trend of Cracking Open Nest Eggs to Start New BusinessesFinancial advisors are reporting that an increasing number of baby boomers are using retirement savings to start new businesses.  In fact, experts say that of the 600,000 new businesses started each year, nearly 10 percent are funded by 401(k)s and IRAs in what is known as a rollover business startup.

Many boomers are using retirement savings because of the lack of available private capital for funding startups, particularly for those who may have no track record of running a business.  Rolling retirement savings over into a new business can be tricky, however, and requires that the new company have a retirement plan that complies with federal rules for such a transaction.

An Orange County business planning attorney can help you ensure your new business meets these rules, as well as provide valuable assistance in helping you make other decisions about your new California business:

Business plan. Your top priority should be to develop a comprehensive business plan that will spell out what products or services you will be offering, market analysis, pricing, financing, location and financial projections.

Business structure. You have several choices in deciding on the right business structure for your start-up, including sole proprietor, partnership, limited liability company (LLC) or corporation.  This is when a consultation with a California business planning attorney is necessary, especially if you have personal assets you wish to shield from any potential business liabilities.

Business name.  A California business planning attorney can also be helpful once you have chosen a name for your business.  You should register your name as a DBA in the county where your business is based.  You will likely want to trademark your name as well.

Business permits and tax documents. You may need to acquire a city business license (different cities have different rates and some are more favorable than others), a federal and state employer identification number, and a number of other documents.  If you plan to lease a location, you should have your attorney review your commercial lease agreement.

Business insurance. Depending on what kind of business you plan to operate, you may need to secure liability insurance for your business.

For more information on starting a new business in California, contact our Orange County business planning law firm.

Get started by contacting our Orange County asset protection estate planning law firm as soon as possible.

California Estate Planning Attorney Reflects on Another Lesson From Steve Jobs: Protecting Intellectual Property in Estate Plans

Asset Protection, Estate PlanningNo Comments

steve jobs2 150x150 California Estate Planning Attorney Reflects on Another Lesson From Steve Jobs: Protecting Intellectual Property in Estate PlansGiven the nature of Steve Jobs’ personality and desire to protect his image and privacy, it is no surprise that when a Hong Kong company recently tried to introduce a Steve Jobs doll, Apple attorneys quickly shut them down.

In California, a celebrity’s public image is protected under California’s Celebrities Rights Act, which extends the personality rights for a celebrity to 70 years after their death.  The state’s “Astaire Celebrity Image Protection Act” (Civil Code section 3344.1) prohibits the unsanctioned use of the “name, voice, signature, photograph or likeness on or in products, merchandise or goods” of any person.

While the Chinese company argued that Jobs was not a movie star, the law extends to those who were famous enough for their image to have commercial value – and Jobs certainly fits that definition.

As noted in an article in The Trust Advisor regarding this case, this incident serves as a reminder of the importance of taking care of the intangibles in estate planning.  Even if you are not in the public eye, you may own photographs, correspondence, diaries or other important documents that you wish to keep private.  This can best be accomplished by discussing your wishes with your California estate planning attorney, who can help you protect your rights even after you are gone.

Contact us today and let our Newport Beach law firm help you with all your financial planning needs.

California Estate Planning Attorney Details Why Asset Protection Is Critical in Trying Economic Times

Asset Protection, California Trusts, Domestic Asset Protection, Estate Planning, Foreign Asset Protection, Offshore TrustsNo Comments

asset protection 2 e1327093749885 California Estate Planning Attorney Details Why Asset Protection Is Critical in Trying Economic TimesThe golden rule of asset protection is: plan ahead.  Once the proverbial asset horse has left the barn, there is no point – or legal way – to close the barn doors.  Once a divorce is filed, a creditor begins pursuit or bankruptcy looms, there is no way to protect your assets unless you have planned ahead.

A post this week at NuwireInvestor.com details a number of asset protection techniques that can protect you if you implement them before trouble strikes:

Exemption planning – the law allows you to keep certain assets, called exemptions, in situations of credit default, bankruptcy and even divorce.  Converting nonexempt assets into exempt assets can be done, but it must be done in advance.

Life insurance – the wealthy can use life insurance to protect assets from estate taxes, and the less wealthy need it if they have dependents to protect.

Liability insurance – liability insurance will pay creditors in the event of a lawsuit, and will also cover the majority of your legal expenses.

Qualified retirement plans – IRAs and 401(k)s provide an extra layer of asset protection as well as a tax deduction for contributions.

Spousal gifting trust – if you’re married, you and your spouse can create a Spousal Gifting Trust to protect assets against estate taxes and creditors, while retaining the control and use of those assets.

Family LLCs and FLPs – Family Limited Liability Corporations or Family Limited Partnerships can be used to shield assets from creditors.

DAPTs – if you are a California resident and set up an irrevocable trust naming yourself as beneficiary, you are not protected against creditors.  However, A California estate planning attorney can help you set up a Domestic Asset Protection Trust in a number of other states that will allow you to establish an irrevocable trust, name yourself as beneficiary, and protect your assets from creditors.

Offshore Asset Protection Trusts – one of the best vehicles for protecting assets against lawsuits or creditors is the Offshore Asset Protection Trust.  This is a trust established in one of a number of foreign countries that have laws in place prohibiting creditors from taking your trust assets, no matter what – while still allowing you to access your assets.

Contact us today for individualized planning strategies to meet your unique needs.

 

Newport Beach Estate Planning Attorney Can Help Californians Avoid Potential Clawbacks on Gifts

Asset Protection, Estate Planning, Tax PlanningNo Comments

claws crab e1326998676245 Newport Beach Estate Planning Attorney Can Help Californians Avoid Potential Clawbacks on GiftsRight now, the lifetime gift tax exclusion is $5 million per person and $10 million for a married couple.  However, as noted in an article posted yesterday on the Trusts & Estates website, the exclusion reverts back to $1 million next year and as the law is currently written, lifetime gifts over that amount can be “clawed back” into the transfer tax system and subject to estate tax.

This is scary stuff for those who have been generous with gifts over the last two years, or who are contemplating making gifts this year.  However, as the article further notes, there is a way to still make those gifts, but in a way that mitigates the specter of clawbacks.

Those making gifts may want to consider entering into an agreement where the recipient agrees to pay an appropriate share of the estate tax to the estate in the event of clawback. An agreement like this may also lower the taxable value of the gift by the actuarial present value of the increase in estate tax caused by the clawback. Not having this type of agreement in place could potentially bankrupt the estate.

Even if gifts are subject to clawback, making the following types of gifts can help reduce estate taxes:

  • Lifetime gifts to grantor trusts
  • Gifts of a fractional interest in property
  • Gifts to grantor retained trusts

A California estate planning attorney can help eliminate confusion as well as help families prepare for asset protection, estate planning and retirement needs.

Your California legal and financial planning experts are at your service; Contact us today.

Orange County Estate Planning Attorney Warns Against the Biggest Threat to Your Nest Egg

Asset Protection, Estate PlanningNo Comments

broken egg e1326911352154 Orange County Estate Planning Attorney Warns Against the Biggest Threat to Your Nest EggAn Orange County estate planning attorney cautions that even if you have done everything right for retirement – invested in a 401(k), IRAs, diversified portfolio, and have significant cash savings – everything could be lost to long-term health care costs if you don’t work equally hard to protect your assets.

The fact is that most people do not have significant enough assets to pay for long-term care for one or both spouses, but still have too much to qualify for Medicaid.   While you can “spend down” your assets five years before you anticipate needing Medicaid benefits to qualify, this goes against the grain for most people who have saved their whole lives to accumulate their assets.

Fortunately, California is one of several states that offer long-term care partnership programs that allow you to purchase enough insurance to cover the assets you want to protect.  The California Partnership for Long-Term Care is an alliance between the State of California and a select group of private insurers that provides long-term health care policies to allow you to keep a dollar’s worth of assets for each dollar your partnership policy pays out for long-term care, thus enabling you to still maintain your ownership of your assets.  In effect, you purchase a partnership policy that is equal to the amount of asset protection you want.

A partnership policy also allows you to pass assets to a spouse, children or other family members because it exempts protected assets from Medi-Cal Estate Recovery.

You owe it to yourself and your family to consult with an Orange County estate planning attorney about partnership policies and the asset protection these long-term care policies provide.

Let our Costa Mesa law offices help you get started by contacting us today.

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